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Tallahassee---Hospital Extends Contract during negotions

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  • Tallahassee---Hospital Extends Contract during negotions

    TMH grants EMS extension
    City and county now negotiating
    By Todd Wright and Jeff Burlew

    Tallahassee Memorial Hospital has agreed to grant Leon County a 90-day extension on its deadline to discontinue emergency medical services.

    It is the second time TMH has granted an extension to its deadline to end ambulance service. In September 2002, the hospital announced it would stop providing EMS by June 30 because of a $1.6 million shortfall and nearly $2 million needed for capital improvements.

    TMH later extended that deadline to Sept. 30. This week, the hospital agreed to push the deadline through the end of the year.

    Ron Brafford, senior vice president at TMH, said the hospital's board of directors knew for some time another extension would be needed to give the county and city of Tallahassee time to work out an agreement on the future of EMS.

    "The board felt we ought to help in any way we can; that's how we felt as an organization," Brafford said. "As we've always said, we want to be a part of the solution. But at the same time, we have to recognize the funding pressures it puts on us."

    The hospital is asking the county to reimburse its cost to continue the service for three months. County Administrator Parwez Alam said he anticipated the payment to be between $100,000 and $125,000 a month.

    Negotiations between the city and county began Thursday to allow the Tallahassee Fire Department to take over paramedic and ambulance services. City negotiators, led by City Manager Anita Favors, presented several costs that were "substantially underestimated" in a proposal by consultants hired by the city and county.

    More than $8M annually

    The annual cost of a revamped service could be more than $8 million per year. David Reid, the city's director of management and administration, said the cost could increase by as much as $500,000.

    The city also laid out what Favors called "possible deal-breaker" issues before the county, including full-cost recovery and a dedicated funding source. The city also requested quarterly payments and a term limit on the EMS contract, which it had not asked for prior to the meeting. The city is proposing ending the contract in 2008, the same as its fire service contract with the county.

    "We wanted to put the major concerns on the table," Favors said. "Under no circumstance does the city want to accept responsibility for the cost for this project, even if we did underestimate it."

    Favors called the mood of the meeting "constructive, at least on the surface" but said her team did have to smooth over county concerns about the City Commission's decision to postpone a vote on a proposed EMS tax by the county.

    The two sides are expected to work on an "accelerated time schedule" and meet early next week with more specifics in hand, Favors said. The group agreed to have a deal in place for the County Commission to vote on June 24, with the City Commission set to sign off on the deal the following day.
    09-11 .. 343 "All Gave Some..Some Gave ALL" God Bless..R.I.P.
    IACOJ Minister of Southern Comfort
    "Purple Hydrant" Recipient (3 Times)
    BMI Investigator
    The comments, opinions, and positions expressed here are mine. They are expressed respectfully, in the spirit of safety and progress. They do not reflect the opinions or positions of my employer or my department.

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